One Squiggly Line Blog

Hand-drawn pictures can make things clear, simple, and fun in blogs, too!

Visual Notes: Sketchnotes


What exactly are sketchnotes?I define them as small-scale visual notes drawn in real-time, live or from audio or video files. Mine are usually in black-and-white. They can also be created from print materials, although those often end up being more like illustrations than sketchnotes. At least in my experience.

What's the difference between sketchnotes and illustration?The main difference between the two is the number of revisions — illustrations have many, sketchnotes have none!

The sketchnote above was drawn with an ultra fine Sharpie marker while listening to an audio file fromThe Business Soul Sessionsonline course by Beth Kempton. Sketchnotes from the course will continue to be added to thisFlickr albumandPinterest boarduntil the set is complete — close to 40 total!

Visual Thinking: Words & Pictures Together


What grabbed your attention first — the image above or the big chunk of text below?

Odds are, the image grabbed your eye first. It's probably the main reason you're reading the text in the first place!So go back to the image for a minute.Really look at it. READ it.

Now, read the paragraph below:

Visual thinking makes complex information simple, brings clarity to confusing communication, makes the common unique, turns the passive into the active and apathy into interest. With visual thinking, the clumsy becomes elegant, the impersonal becomes personal, the dry becomes juicy, "Yes, but..." is replaced with "Yes, and...", trial and error turns to trial and learn, the cold becomes warm, and the separate become unified.

That paragraph and the accompanying image say the same thing!Most people find the information easier to absorb through the image than the paragraph.They're able to absorb that information faster and remember it longer. And, it's a lot more fun!

Check out One Squiggly Line'sAbout Visual Thinking page to learn more.

Creativity: Creative Combinations

Creativity

There's a myth out there that highly creative people just sit around and wait for inspiration to strike. Like a great big lightening bolt from the sky. Or a soft whisper from a mystical muse.

Truth is, creativity is not quite so passive. It is an active process. And there's a science to it, not just an art. There are even formulas, methods, and procedures for generating ideas and, equally importantly, evaluating them.

One classic way to create something new is to combine two things. Take the markers above, for example. Nothing new about a round tip marker. Or a brush tip marker. But when you put them both in one pen, you end up with a whole new product!

Learn More About Visual Thinking

Visual Thinking: Visualize Richly & Colorfully


There's so much more to visual thinking than doodles and diagrams! While physical drawings are a great way to help you think and communicate more clearly, there's a lot happening in that brain of yours before you even pick up a marker. The ability to see things clearly with your mind's eye, your imagination, is where it all begins.

To strengthen your visual thinking skills and boost your creativity,look at the picture above. Really study it for a few minutes. Pay close attention to the details, not just the overall image. Then, close your eyes and form a really clear picture in your head of the picture you were just looking at. Describe it out loud as accurately and thoroughly as possible, including as many details as you can.

To take it a step further, when you open your eyes, draw the image you just described. If you get stuck, close your eyes and try to see the image of the original drawing in your head instead of going back to the original picture.

You can do this alone or with a partner. Just remember the goal is to see the image as clearly and accurately as possible.No judging!

This exercise not only strengthens your visual thinking abilities and boosts your creativity, it also increases your observational skills, gives your memory quite a work out, and makes you a bit more articulate, too!

Check out One Squiggly Line'sAbout Visual Thinking pageto learn more!

Creativity: It's Contagious!


There's a myth out there that highly creative people just sit around and wait for inspiration to strike. And while they wait, they really don't care about the real world.

Truth is, highly creative people know great ideas do not come from within. They come from connections made with something outside ourselves. Often, those connections are made with something created by another creative person.

That's why the highly creative notice, appreciate, and celebrate creativity wherever they find it. And they even seek it out. So if you'd like to be more creative, start appreciating creativity when you see it. You'll soon discover ideas really are all around you!

Learn More About Visual Thinking

Creativity: Failure & the Creative Life

Why are we afraid of failure?
 

It’s embarrassing. It’s humiliating. And perhaps it makes us feel weak and small inside.
 

When’s the last time you failed? How did it make you feel? Do you remember your reaction?
 

Perhaps it was a test. Poor performance at work. An interview. Suggesting a new idea.

Were you nervous? Did you cry? Get angry? Did you shy away and never try again?

Oftentimes these emotions are uncomfortable. Although difficult to experience, they lead to some of the most important lessons, opening up many doors for us later on in life.

We live in a culture where everything appears to be perfect and “normal” on the outside. Our social media accounts portray this.

The reality is that life is messy. We’re not always perfect people. And if we try to always stay within the lines, we’ll never know what lies beyond.

It’s important to allow ourselves to be open to failure and rejection, because on the other side is a reward - either a lesson to be learned, or you achieve what you intended.

This doesn't mean to be stupid with our failures, but rather, to be smart with our intentions and our reactions.

It’s not the failure itself that’s important. What’s important is that we learn from our failures and implement these lessons into our lives.

Ask yourself: If I fail at this, what’s the worst that can happen?
 

Failure is one of the most important tools for a creative life.
 

When we’re comfortable encountering failure and rejection, only then will we be able to experience results that we’ve never seen before.
 

A creative life is one that has experienced failure multiple times - not recoiling from it, but embracing, learning and implementing its lessons.

Failure is a steppingstone to personal success and creativity.

Learn more about Visual Thinking

Creativity & Visual Thinking: Love is Powerful!

Do you know what love feels like?
 

Does it make your heart skip several beats? Does it make you feel nervous? Excited? Content? Happy? Calm?
 

Love feels different for everyone - we each have our own love language. It’s our goal to identify how we respond and react to love.
 

In order to do so, we must become more familiar with ourselves.
 

This doesn’t just apply to romantic relationships. This applies to all aspects of our lives - our jobs, our friends, ourselves, as well as our significant others.


It’s important to fall in love with our lives, or at least certain aspects of them, as our lives are too short for mediocracy.  Our lives are too short for mediocre careers, hobbies and relationships.


We must not settle for something that doesn’t stir our heart. We must try and live our lives in accordance with our passions.
 

In order to find love, we must know what we’re passionate about.
 

This all takes takes time, experience, and even failure. We must not be afraid of encountering new experiences, as every new and unfamiliar experience is valuable in helping us learn more about ourselves.
 

How are you going to learn more about yourself and your love language? What experiences do you want to have this year? What areas do you want to grow in?

Learn more about Visual Thinking

Visual Thinking: Simple is Powerful

Friendly hand-drawn visuals can breathe new life into an old message. The topic of New Year's resolutions has been covered time and time again. So much so that people stop really paying attention to it. In effect, it becomes invisible. 

 

When that happens, a new approach is needed. Something to break the pattern and grab people's eye. No need to make it fancy or complex. Simple can be very powerful. Plus, when you keep things simple, they're less scary so you're more likely to follow through.

 Bring Visual Thinking To Your Next Project Or Event

Creativity: You ARE Creative

Many people don't consider themselves creative because they can’t “draw” or “paint”.

The reality is that creativity can take on a variety of forms - many forms beyond the physical realm. In fact, creativity starts and is born from our internal world. Our goal is to figure out which medium best portrays our personal creativity.

Thus, we must make sure we cultivate an environment that is conducive to creativity. But how do we do that? How do we know what that environment looks like? Isn’t it different for everyone?

Yes.
 

The first step, and the most important step, is to become more familiar with ourselves.

We must be able to recognize the types of things that stir our heart, set our soul on fire, and make us come alive. Because once we recognize them, then we can begin to replicate them.  
 

And the only way to find out is by trying out a variety of different things, as creativity demands quantity.  

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

-Howard Thurman

Learn More About Visual Thinking

Visual Thinking & Creativity: A Manifesto for Life

“Live deeply. Never let a moment go by where you’re not fully embracing the time you’ve been given. Be passionate. Don’t let anyone you encounter leave the same way. Talk deeply, talk real. Time is limited - Make the most of it. Don’t be afraid to speak up. Absorb the beauty in everything. Cry. Laugh. Dance in the rain. Kiss passionately. Don’t lock your voice in your mind-speak. Don’t be afraid of failure, embrace it. Love. Love life. Love everyone. Appreciate everything you’ve been given. Don’t become upset with what you don’t have. Don’t rely on materials. Sleep. Drink plenty of water. Take little adventures. Run outside. Go hiking. Go for a walk. Go fishing. Sleep under the stars. Be deep. Express your love. Be thankful. Be fully present. Always show appreciation for everything. Stay present and mindful. Absorb the experiences that will one day leave you with a burning memory in the back of your mind. Eat healthy. Treat your body right. Forgive. Be selfless. Don’t care too much about appearance. Be honest.”

By: Meredith Illig

@meredith.rose.poetry

Learn more about Visual Thinking